On Monday, the American Cable Association filed comments regarding Gray Television’s proposed purchase of Raycom Media. Upon closing of the deal (and after divestitures), Gray would own 124 television stations, 62 of which are ranked first in all-day Nielsen ratings in their local markets, which would be the highest number of top-ranked television stations owned by any broadcaster. Gray has committed to divest stations in nine markets where Gray and Raycom each own one or more “top-four” stations.
In ACA’s comments, ACA raises two issues it believes are important to the Commission’s review:
“First, while Gray proposes divestitures that would limit the local consolidation caused by the proposed transaction, its purchase of 57 Raycom stations would result in considerable national consolidation. This, in turn, will raise retransmission consent prices. The Commission cannot ignore this harm, but rather must weigh it against the benefits of the transaction. Second, Gray’s divestiture plans themselves raise concerns similar to those raised in the Sinclair-Tribune proceeding about how such divestitures would impact so-called “after-acquired clauses.” ACA calls on the Commission to prohibit Gray from triggering any after-acquired station clauses in retransmission consent agreements with MVPDs for acquired stations it commits to divest.”